Budget: $4.8 million
Directed By: Christopher B. Landon
So, happy death day, was not a film I thought
I would enjoy quite as much as I did. Not a
true horror film, more of a comedy horror
with slasher elements.
In a nut shell think mean girls, mixed with
scream to the tone of groundhog Day. Which
is what drew me to watch it, groundhog Day is one
of my favourite non horror movies.
With the theme of repetition till you get it right
being it's main focus.
Made for a modest 4.8 million dollars it's not
a major bank buster film either. Which shows,
though not in a bad way.
The effects are subtle but effective and a lot of the
gore kept to a minimum, probably to keep age ratings down for more butts on seats.
This is evident with the nude bit which I'll get too a bit later.
So we first see Tree wake up in a college dorm room. Her phone blaring it's her birthday, which low and behold it is!
She seems irritable even more so that it's a dorm room and she's apparently slept with this guy, Carter.
After pestering him for headache tablets/pills and telling him to keep quiet she flees as fast as she can bumping into Carter's room mate who refers to her as a fine piece of puss, if I remember rightly.
It's clear already Theresa is not a nice person, in fact she's quite a bitch to a lot of people on the way back to her frat house.
Inside we meet some proper college tropes from the airhead girl to the room mate, Lori who has made Tree a little birthday cupcake. Which she promptly throws to the ground. I think here and a few more scenes into it before her first death the movie tries to set up as many people who would have a motive for killing Tree as possible. Even more pointers that she is a nasty person, such as not sticking up for people and even having an affair with her doctor/teacher too!
My initial guess though was surprisingly right but I was thrown off a number of times despite that and questioned it, even with the 'fake reveal' these movies always do which certainly gave this film a large lift in points.
So later on we join Tree wandering back again when she stumbled into a man wearing a mascot mask. Then a few moments later she is ambushed by him in a tunnel after finding a wind up music box thing.
Though fighting back she is inevitably killed.
Only to immediately awaken in Carter's bed with its your birthday blaring on her phone again. She doesn't seem to really notice this 1st time that she's reliving the same day and almost goes through it exactly the same for a while. Until the tunnel bit where manages to avoid the killer this time. Only to end up be killed at a frat party instead.
This time waking up shes terribly disoriented and stumbles around a lot. She seems to realise it's the same day this time and ends up barricading herself in her frat room. Unfortunately for her the killer was either already in there or found a way in, she fights back again but is murdered once more.
Waking in Carters room again we actually see a small change in Tree this time, we also learn that Carter didn't sleep with her just made sure she was okay.
She explains to him what she thinks is going on and even proves certain things, now to me he's slightly excepting of this a bit fast, but time of the movie and pacing it has to happen. Also i mean what would you be like if some you hardly knew told you they were living the same day over and proved it with timed accuracy. Carter tells her if she really is living the same day over and over she has ample time to find out who is killing her and stop them.
Several times we see Tree observing and investigating people who she thinks is the possible killer and either they aren't or she learns something about them. All through this we see her slowly changing as a person too, though later on we do learn why she has turned her feeling off to a degree, though to me it's a bit late and would have been a bit nicer if it was expanded on a bit more throughout. She lost her mother three years ago and it kind of twisted her (though still not a massive excuse for some of the things she does, mainly the affair).
Later we find out that she can't actually (unlike groundhog day) keep this reliving the same day over and over thing up for much longer as each time she dies she gets a little bit weaker. This raises some plot holes especially the fact she seems to retain internal scarring, wouldn't that make her have a shorter life span? A number of other minor ones that just niggle me.
Before she finally works out how to sort everything out Tree has one more blow out and struts around the campus naked. Again as I mentioned earlier kept to shots from behind or shoulder level for age rating purposes, which brings me to this point. Jessica got naked for that scene, well probably with modesty strips etc but, its like why?
Okay it's a scene where she doesn't care anymore, its liberating and funny but quite pointless in the grand scheme of things. This draws me to my last point too, Tree, she hasn't done this that much, I think we see every iteration of her deaths on screen, not like GH day where some are hinted at or just not seen. Tree seems to come to terms with her nastiness and grows as a person very fast, breaking habits, friendships and behaviors ground into her for years in the span of two to three weeks?
A little unbelievable in that sense. So I wont spoil anymore of this film and i'm pretty much done except I will say there's a few nice nods to the films that influenced this one at the end. One last thing a sequel is also in the works for this thanks to its massive $122.4 million return, though its said this one will not be a retread of the first like most sequels are, this will carry on from the end of the first and we will discover how she managed to relive the same day over and over.
So Happy Death Day is a pleasing film, it certainly surprised the hell out of me how good it was. It's definitely a good waste of spare time or a movie night choice, not quite a five out of five but a very very strong 4 out of 5 stars with recommendation to watch from THN!